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Ag notes, Jan. 24

Managing your spring calving cow herd 

Prepare for calving season, some things to have on hand:  ear tags and applicator, frozen colostrum, or commercial colostrum supplement, oral calf feeder, 7 percent iodine for navels, electrolytes, injectable antibiotics, syringes and needles, injectable vitamin E/selenium supplement, and a record book.

Make sure mature cows have a body condition score of 5 or greater and first calf heifers have a body condition of 6 or greater. Booster vaccine for scours as needed. Monitor your cows for bovine respiratory disease. Work closely with your veterinarian on your herd health program.

Sort close-up cows from those farther from calving, but monitor both groups.

Consider new calving ground every few weeks for cows and heifers that haven’t calved yet. This can reduce disease issues with the newborn calves. Once the calves are on the ground monitor them for scours, pneumonia, and navel issues. Separate cows that have calves and increase their feed in accordance with their increasing nutrient needs. Always provide a good mineral and provide a high magnesium mineral when you are preparing to move cows to spring pastures.

For more information on beef cattle management you can contact the Boyle County Extension Office.

Jerry Little, County Extension Agent for Agriculture/Natural Resources